Court Farm Holidays Gets A Website Makeover

Court Farm Holidays is a family run business operating in Marhamchurch near Bude. And as the business has been in the family for generations, they have made the whole holiday experience a cornish home away from home. Their catering cottages are fully equipped with everything you need. On site faciltiies also include: an indoor heated swimming pool, tennis court, games room, morning animal feeding  to spa treatments.

Working alongside Rachel Barton Coates, I was tasked with developing the new makeover website and bringing it to life. This is perfect for me, as I like to develop as well as design websites from scratch. But for this particular website,  as its Rachel’s client,  she produced the designs and then passed them over to me for building and implementation. So, for this project, I didnt need to worry about the design stage. This allowed me to focus more on the development.

It is always a pleasure working with Rachel as her style of designs is completely different to my style/approach to websites. My style is to design/build something that hasn’t been seen or developed before, where as Rachel’s approach, is more clean/corporate and easy on the eyes. Both styles are very approachable.

court-farm-header

Before undertaking a website, I always look at the design and segment the design into structure building blocks – header, navigation, content and footer for building. Most ‘website designers’ on the other hand,  don’t even start with the design phase. Insteadd they go straight to Google and search for WordPress templates. While this can be good for certain situations , like getting a quick presence online or for people that like to mess around with layouts on a daily basis, the end result will not lead to a good experience for clients or end users (which is something I have witnessed on other peoples websites).  Anyone can download a template and setup a website,while this might be attractive, the result is your website looking similar to another one. Thus not making you stand out from the crowd. The performance of the website is effected as well, as the downloaded template is catering for all sorts of different scenarios/situations. This means more code has to be processed and downloaded.

When the structure/building blocks have been established, I then further drill down the blocks into medium level blocks. For example, the header on Court Farm,  can be divided into two columns, one column for the logo and then a second column for the quick book online and contact buttons. I then repeat this process for each of the structure’s building blocks.

The next stage is to start building the structure blocks using HTML and then to populate the data into these blocks using PHP. As a software developer, using PHP is a relatively simple process for me. Using the PHP functions from WordPress allows me to setup WordPress to allow the owners at Court Farm to easily populate the website. Effortlessly add adding a new cottage or adding new blog articles without having to worry about messing up the layout.

court-farm-interactions

Finally, after the structure and the data has been processed into the correct blocks I then work on the interactions. For most websites, I use CSS3 and JQuery in Javascript. If I can, I try to use CSS3 as much as possible as the performance can be far greater especially on mobile devices and tablets than jQuery. However, certain interactions such as animating SVG elements can be far more controllable using Javascript and JQuery than CSS3. So it really depends on what sort of interactions I am trying to develop. At this point, some developers might suggest using already developed plugins/scripts to achieve the interactions. And while this is somewhat true, they also come with a lot more code as they have been developed to offer all sorts of different interactions, not simply just the interaction I am trying to achieve. It also means it’s a lot harder to made changes if the client is requesting certain features to be implemented, as you would need to read and understand all the code. However, if the code is bespoke, it means all the code that exists, exists solely just for the interaction. This subsequently helps towards the websites performance,  as perhaps, only half as much has to be downloaded.

As I have quite enjoyed writing this blog article, I hope to continue writing with regular articles on 3D Visualisations, Designing and Software Development.

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Testimonials

Dean recently created an excellent animated logo for my website, Bude & Beyond (www.budeandbeyond.co.uk). What I never realised at the outset was how much time, effort, discussion, creativity and dedication goes into producing a logo. After an initial discussion, Dean created many versions, in different colour schemes and formats, which he also animated. He sought appropriate feedback and went the extra mile to ensure that the colours and design were absolutely spot on. I was very impressed at his determination to get it right and to re-create and adapt until both he and I were both very happy with the final result.

So, I’d say Dean’s major strength is communication. I’m not IT-focused, but I appreciate a good-looking website/logo, so it really helps that he is able to discuss ideas in a friendly and accessible way, without over-use of jargon. He explains things well, and will interpret ideas in a client-focused way. He is extremely responsive, so wait times are very short. He listens to his client and creates ideas based on what he hears/understands. He checks all along the way (wording, colours, images, positioning) and will ask: what if we try this? He is also very open to constructive comments. Therefore, he provides plenty of guided choice.

I’m rather proud to now have a Dean Wronowski animated logo already in use on my social media and ready for my website (currently undergoing a major revamp). Dean’s designs are his trademark. Fresh, colourful and lively, they always try to encompass the nature of the product he is working with.

He is a remarkable talent which Bude is fortunate to have

Dawn Robinson - Bude and Beyond